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GSW Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Resources

We look forward to welcoming students back to campus for the Fall 2021 semester! While the health and safety of our campus community continues to remain our highest priority, Georgia Southwestern expects to open for Fall 2021 fully operational, including student and athletics events, campus dining, and all campus services. Per the University System of Georgia (USG), GSW will not require employees or students to be vaccinated in order to work or attend the university. However, faculty, staff, students and visitors are strongly encouraged to receive the vaccine and wear masks if unvaccinated.

Last updated: August 17, 2021

Student Receiving Vaccine

Vaccines

Vaccines for GSW students, employees and family members are available on campus at the Student Health Center. Contact the Student Health Center at 229-931-2235 to make an appointment.

Health Clinic

Testing

The Student Health Center continues to maintain a large supply of both Rapid COVID-19 tests (results within 15 minutes) and saliva tests (results within 3 days) at no cost to GSW students, employees and family members.

Student in Classroom

Masks & Social Distancing

While masks and social distancing are not required on campus per USG policy, unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to continue wearing a mask and to continue social distancing whenever possible.

Report Health Concerns

Students who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, should self-isolate and continue monitoring symptoms. Those experiencing symptoms or that have tested positive, should complete the COVID-19 Online Reporting form at gsw.edu/COVIDreport. If you have questions, email covid@gsw.edu, which notifies the Office of the Vice President for Student Engagement and Success.

Following a confirmed report, an absence notification will be sent to the appropriate faculty members. No “Return to Class” date will be provided, but students will be instructed to follow the most recent GDPH guidelines for safely returning to the classroom. 

Student Reporting Form

 

Employees who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive should not report to work, immediately notify their supervisor, and contact Gena Wilson in Human Resources at 229-931-2026. 

Quarantine
Isolation
Contact Tracing
Employee Leave
Travel

Quarantine Instructions

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH), fully vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine, but should follow basic prevention measures: wear a mask, social distance, avoid crowds, and wash hands frequently.

The following information is for non-vaccinated people with no symptoms:

  • Quarantining at home for 14 days is the safest.
  • Quarantine at home for 10 days, and get released with no COVID test. 
  • Quarantine at home for 7 days, and get released with negative COVID test. 
*Day 0 is the date of the most recent exposure. Day 5 is the earliest day to get a test.

Isolation Instructions

Isolation is for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. 

  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.
  • Wear a face mask.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoid sharing household items.
  • Clean high-touch surfaces frequently.
  • Monitor your symptoms.
    • If you develop worsening symptoms (difficulty breathing), seek medical attention. 

Discontinuing home isolation if you HAD symptoms:

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared and
  • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, etc.) have improved

Discontinuing home isolation if you did NOT HAVE symptoms:

  • At least 10 days have passed since the positive lab test and the person remains asymptomatic
  • Note, if you later develop symptoms, you should follow the guidance for symptomatic persons above.
For more detailed information, please visit https://dph.georgia.gov/isolation-contact

*Faculty and staff should be prepared to accommodate students who are required to go into quarantine or isolation.

Contact Tracing Instructions

Contact tracing is the process of quickly identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to a disease to prevent additional transmission. Ccontact tracing is a key strategy for preventing further spread of COVID-19. 

When the DPH is notified of a case (a person with confirmed COVID-19), the case is interviewed and people they had close contact with (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer) beginning two (2) days before they became ill are identified.  DPH will then reach out to these individuals either by phone or text message to inform them that they have come in contact with someone with COVID-19  and enroll them in symptom monitoring. 

All information collected is provided voluntarily and will be kept confidential according to HIPAA standards.

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COVID-19 Related Leave for Employees

COVID-19-specific leave for isolation and quarantine is no longer available.

  • Employees who must isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19 illness or exposure may telework during this time with the approval of their supervisor.
    • The nature of their position influences whether an employee is able to telework, since some positions are not able to be performed remotely.
    • When telework is not possible, employees who must isolate or quarantine must use their accumulated leave to be away from work.
  • Employees may continue to use COVID-19 Vaccine leave in order to receive the vaccine and if they experience side effects from receiving the vaccine.
  • The COVID-19 Vaccine leave is not permanent leave and may conclude as early as August 29, 2021 at the end of the State of Emergency for Continued COVID-19 Economic Recovery declared in the Governor’s Executive Order No. 06.30.21.01.
  • We encourage employees who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine to do so and to use this leave while it is available. An employee may take up to eight (8) hours of Non-Closure Emergency Leave for the purpose of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, an employee may also take up to sixteen (16) hours of Non-Closure Emergency Leave if he or she receives a COVID-19 vaccine and experiences severe negative side effects that prohibit the performance of their duties of employment.

Employee Travel

As of May 2021, the state of Georgia is no longer under a non-essential travel ban. Regular travel may resume under normal travel policies. International travel should be discussed with your supervisor. 

Accommodations

Employees:

Approval of all COVID-19 related accommodations and flexible work arrangements (including telework) expired June 30, 2021. Requests for ADA accommodations or flexible work arrangements will be reviewed in accordance with the pre-pandemic ADA accommodations or Telework/Flextime policies.

Students:

Students who need accommodations for their classes should contact the Office of Accommodations and Access.

FAQ

What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?

According to the CDC, COVID-19 is spread like any other respiratory illness, such as the common cold or influenza. Coughing or sneezing by those who already have symptoms spread coronavirus to others. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

What are the symptoms?

Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Anyone showing signs or symptoms of coronavirus should call their primary care provider or the GSW Student Health Clinic at 229-931-2235. Let them know you are experiencing symptoms over the phone before showing up to the office. While you are waiting to see your doctor, be sure to take the recommended precautions to stop the spread of germs. Do not go out in public or go to work until you've been cleared by your doctor.

What precautions can I take?

People can help protect themselves from respiratory illness with everyday preventive actions.

  • Wear a face covering or mask.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home if you are sick, especially if you have a fever.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with tissue or your sleeve when sneezing or coughing.
  • Stay home and avoid crowded places if possible. 

What should GSW students be doing?

We encourage GSW students to diligently check their GSW email accounts and this page for any updates. Important announcements will also be made on social media and, in emergency situations, our emergency notification system. Students should also be practicing good hygiene and the precautions listed above.

If news about COVID-19 is causing an increase in anxiety, hopelessness or isolation, we have structures in place to help you attend to your mental health. Students can connect with the Counseling Services, and employees can seek resources through Human Resources and the Employee Assistance Program.

What about students in off-campus experiential learning?

Students may be required by off-campus partnering organiztions to wear masks and/or be vaccinated as a condition of participation in experiential learning opportuntiies such as study abroad programs, externships and delivery of medical services.

Contact Information